…through some harrowing times, when it all seemed a lost cause…to how it has recently more than doubled in size,
After finishing the SCMA’s Four Corners Tour with my wife, Diane, in 2000, I thought that we might be able to bring tourism to northern
Maine by popularizing this tour. Prior to that, the problem had always been: what would bring people so far north? They would need a
reason. As an AMA member tasked with protecting the future of motorcycling and promoting the motorcycling lifestyle, I thought: what
better way can we accomplish this than by creating the only motorcycle park in the world that honors the riders of long-distance
motorcycling. They, in turn, would buy granite pavers to commemorate their achievement and that would pay the expenses incurred
running the park.
So, by 2004, we thought we had all bases covered. We organized a meeting for the general public and presented our plan. A lot of people
wanted it, saw value in it but were afraid that it would never get off the ground. As president of the meeting I had to convince them the plan
was solid and would succeed. We contacted
Fraser Papers, which had a piece of land next to McDonald’s, to see if they would donate it for the cause. They said they would. With that
accomplished on a handshake, we started raising funds to buy a 12-foot tall granite monument costing $10,000. Well, we succeeded in
raising those funds soon enough, and we purchased the monument, which we then installed on the donated land (whose deed had yet to
be transferred to us).
A few months later, unfortunately, Homeland Security contacted us and said that we needed to find another place for the monument, since
they needed the Fraser property for a border crossing they wanted to build. At that point, we had no other property for a park nor a place
for the monument. As a temporary measure, we convinced our postmaster to let us install the monument in front of the post office; but that
still left us without an actual park. At about that time, the town of Madawaska came to the rescue and offered us a piece of land, if we would
pay the back taxes on it.
I told my wife, “If I don’t use my own money to buy the property, someone else will. And where could we find a better place for the park?”
So I assembled a group of civic-minded individuals and started our association, set up as a 501(3) non-profit organization, with a president,
a secretary and directors. I brought the offer to buy the land at one of our meetings and, surprisingly, one of the directors said he would
help me purchase it, if the association would reimburse the both of us when sufficient funds became available.
In 2008, I contacted one of my friends who owns a construction company, Ed Pelletier and Sons Construction, and asked if they could, in
some way, help with providing machinery to help build the park. The response was ,“What do you need?” I told them, “Bulldozers, dump
trucks, pay loaders, etc.” They said, “We’ll be there tomorrow morning.” And true to their word, they came, donating their time and
machinery carting away the rubble and grading the grounds. At that point, the Madawaska Four Corners Park had begun. Soon, volunteers
came from all over and worked long hours installing a base for the monument, flagpoles, signage, the substructure and frame for the
fountain, etc., with one of the electricians even donating his services to wire the park. And, suddenly, we had a park for the townspeople
to enjoy, as well as a tourist attraction for the local economy.
In 2012, Charles Lamb from Richmond, Virginia, (one of the benefactors of the park on many previous occasions) e-mailed me a challenge
that he would contribute $35,000 dollars towards buying the abandoned building next to the park, which I had mentioned to him as my next
project ,we badly needed a parking lot. His only condition was that I would have to raise the other $35,000. I told him the population of
Madawaska is only around 3500, so that would be quite a task.
But I took the challenge and started sending letters to friends and motorcyclists across
country in a massive fund-raising drive. After all was said and done, I had collected $35,900 to match Charles’ contribution. When I called
him with the good news, he said proudly, “Joe, the check’s in the mail."
We had no use for the buildings on the property, and did not have the funds to demolish them, nor could we ask Ed Pelletier and Sons ,to
doing more than they had already done. We thought up another win-win situation by donating the buildings to the Four Seasons Lodge,
another non-profit organization, they would tear the building down, saving the wood, windows and doors for a badly needed garage they
wanted to build. Once the building was removed, the grounds prepared and paved, we had our new parking lot.
That’s our story so far. Since we are so far north and want to accommodate tourists properly we now have a Welcome/Information Center
with a clean handi-cap access restroom and store.
If you would like to help a small group of individuals, in a small town,dedicated to bringing tourists to Northern Maine,
Donations can be sent to Madawaska Four Corners Park Association, P.O.Box 261, Madawaska Maine 04756. Any amount is greatly
Madawaska Four Corners Park Association,
We are a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization
Federal ID #20-1689127
Please indicate if you would like a receipt for tax purposes